Romancing Miss Sunshine Chapter 6

Updated: Aug 22, 2020

I'll Never Give Up

It's not supposed to be this way, Lee Min Ho thought, gritting his teeth.


They first met for a discussion with the writer Kim Eun Suk. Then they had several private script readings with the writer.


They had met months before the real filming started, since Kim Eun Suk wanted to personally convince Kim Go Eun, who said she wasn't planning to work at the moment. She wanted to take a break and learn language in the US.

But because she respected Kim Eun Suk, she returned to Korea and attended the meeting.


He wasn't supposed to be that affected with a girl's simplicity.


She wasn't dressed up. She was so casual, even with a hat on.


She didn't stammer or blush. She didn't flirt either. She smiled at him, bowed, looked him in the eyes, and said, "I'm on Kim Tan's side, Sunbae."


What the hell was that?


He had never met a woman who didn't get affected by his charms before. Ever.

Young or old, all the woman he met would show him how amazed they were with him. At least with his looks.


He remembered they were seated face to face, as Kim Eun Suk sat at the head of the table.


He had exchanged pleasantries with the writer before Go Eun arrived, so he sat there, listening while the writer asked Go Eun about what she had done recently.


"I made two movies, Jagganim. One was a romance, and the other was a musical movie. It wouldn't air until next year."


"So you're taking some time off?"


"Ye. I'm learning English at the US."


"How long have you been there?"


"Around a month."


"How was it? Is it difficult living there?"


"Aniyo. It's fun. I like the anonymity. I go to public places and make new friends."


"How nice. I can see that this experience will add more colour to your already astounding acting skills."


She giggled, "That's what I'm hoping for, Jagganim."


He also remembered how she was focused in talking with Kim Eun Suk. She didn't turn to look at him, even once.

That's also a first for him. He's used with girls stealing glances at him even when they were speaking to other people.


What's with her? Why is she so unaffected. Can't she see me?


He's so flustered that when Kim Eun Suk explained to them the general plot of The King: Eternal Monarch, he wasn't even listening. He was too busy staring at the printed summary in front of him, trying to not stare at the actress in front of him so much.


At the end, Go Eun had said, "I'll consider it, Jagganim. Thank you for inviting me."

"I hope you will accept this role, Go Eun-ssi. I wrote it with you and Min Ho-ssi in mind. I can't imagine who should I cast if you reject this."


"Omo, I'm honoured" she had answered, smiling brightly, "However, I have planned for this course for a year, arranging my schedule to be free this year. It's my dream to study and experience life there."


"Please read the script. And have mercy on me."


She laughed at that. "I'll consider it really carefully. If I fall for the story, I'll come back to Korea" she said.


Min Ho was taken aback.


If I fall for the story, she said.

He wasn't even a part of her consideration.


"And you, Min Ho-ssi, I hope you'll enjoy your holiday. The first holiday after your enlistment! It must be really fun."


"Oh, sunbaenim, you're going for a holiday?"


"Ne."


"Where will you go?"


"Across Europe."


She had beamed at that. Not at him, but for the holiday destination he mentioned.


"Daebak! I hope you will enjoy it, Sunbaenim."


With that, they all walked to the lobby of Kim Eun Suk's agency.


His van and her car were already outside the main entrance.


She said goodbye without even trying to make a conversation with him. Other girls would linger, would try to keep him with them longer.


Not Kim Go Eun, obviously.


**************************************************


The trip with Jung Il Woo, his long-time best friend, was amazing. It's something he had wanted all along, exploring Europe without schedules or cameras following.


If Il Woo noticed that his mind seemed to be elsewhere, he said nothing.


Until one day in Paris, in the middle of their feast of probably the tastiest food in the country, and Min Ho drank a full glass of red wine out of the blue.

It was unlike his usual self. Min Ho couldn't handle liquor well, and he knew that too much alcohol would disturb enjoying his food. Usually, between alcohol and food, food always won for Min Ho.


"What's wrong? Is there something wrong at home?"


Min Ho was cutting his steak, but he paused midway when Il Woo asked that.

He paused and poured another half glass of wine, drinking it in one go.


"This is the first time I've seen you drinking so fast. Is everything alright?"


"..........I'm just trying to forget something."


Il Woo frowned, watching Min Ho resuming eating his steak.


"Something, or someone?"


"Someone."


"This is not about-"


Min Ho quickly waved his hand, "No, not her. I'm over her. Was wasting my time."


"Then who is it?"


"...........a beautiful somebody."


Il Woo was taken aback. "Who is she? Not an actress?"


"You'll find out soon" he said, standing up. "I think I better go to my room first, before I really get drunk and you'll have to carry me there. See you tomorrow."


Il Woo was speechless. That was the first time since he knew Min Ho to see him abandoning a table full of food, including a tenderloin steak.


Who's the girl?


**********************************************************


The next day, Kim Eun Suk called him, and said that Kim Go Eun had accepted the role. She would cut her course early and returned to Korea.


He was so hyper that day, until Il Woo had to ask, "What's wrong with you? Yesterday you're down. Today you're grinning like a madman. Has something good happened?"


"Yeah, something good happened."


Ever since that day, he watched Go Eun's works, and tried to find everything he could about her online.


His phone was always on his hand when he's not sightseeing or hiking with his best friend.


Again, Il Woo thought it was odd. Min Ho had never been that attached to his phone, not even when he was dating his ex. But he had said himself that they were history already.


It all became clear to Il Woo when they returned to Korea and TKEM released the confirmed female lead.


And all of a sudden, it made sense why he often heard the soundtrack of the drama Goblin when he came to Min Ho's room in hotels at Greece and France to wait for him.


His next female lead was Kim Go Eun.

Was she also that someone who made him that affected during the trip?


Only time would tell, thought Il Woo.


********************************************************


The King Eternal Monarch was something new for him, story wise. It's complicated and held so many dimensions. For someone who usually played romance, it's a challenge to digest the science-fiction, suspense and emotions of the drama.


He had called Kim Eun Suk many times to ask about several things he didn't understand from the script, especially all the mathematical metaphors Lee Gon was using.


Finally, Kim Eun Suk invited him and Go Eun to have another private script reading, and even scheduled it for three times.


At the third schedule, Kim Go Eun couldn't come, because her grandmother passed away.


Min Ho knew that she's close with her grandmother, he read about it online and saw their pictures in her instagram.


He told her his condolences through text, which was replied politely.


It pained him because she was in pain, and the realization hit him like being hit by a concrete.


"Down, Boy. Get a grip. You're still only a colleague for her."


********************************************************


During their brainstorming with Kim Eun Suk, they practiced their lines.


Sometimes Go Eun even acted as Jo Young, to make Min Ho understood the deeper meaning of Lee Gon's scenes.


He had to admit, she was really clever.


Her understanding to the whole plot was incredible and deep. She was even brave enough to argue him when he misunderstood some of the concepts.


"So the yoyo boy is not Luna's accomplice?"


"The yoyo boy is the guardian of the universes, Sunbae. He protects the balance of each universe."


Kim Eun Suk gave them the script per episode, as the TKEM crew and the production house was still reviewing the whole script. Min Ho was shocked and awed with the story of each episode. It's like reading a mystery, he made theories but then found out that he was wrong.


Surprised with Go Eun's answer, Min Ho turned to Kim Eun Suk, "Ne, Go Eun-ssi. You've understood it perfectly. I'm not wrong in choosing a female lead."


Go Eun beamed at that.


And Min Ho experienced a sharp tug in his heart, because that bright smile was not directed at him.


*****************************************************


He's her friend. Her sunbae. Someone who she even admired. And that was it for the first few weeks.


When she saw a man as a friend, he's really a friend. Go Eun had never, ever flirted with him, even though he's falling for her. Even after he had sent her so many signals that he liked her more than a friend.


And her brightness was a double-edged sword.


On one hand, he lived to see her cheerfulness everyday. She made him happy just by being there. But on the other hand, he could see how some male crew began staring at her in a different way after only three days of filming. He even could see that Kim Kyung Nam was interested in her as well.


By November, he knew he's falling madly. That's also when he started to contact her personally even outside filming time.

In December, before they filmed the really important scenes of Tae Eul visiting the Kingdom of Corea for the first time, the PD-nim asked them to brainstorm privately. The production crew rented them a room at Busan's best hotel, and he and Go Eun with their staff camped there for a night, practicing their lines.


He gave all his energy to the rehearsal, and she as well, while all along, he was bothered by how she tied her hair all night, and not letting it down her shoulders.


He really wanted to ask her to let it lose, but they were among their staff, so he held it in.


His new year's resolution was to make her fall for him. That was it. That was the only thing that he wanted in 2020.


After being her friend for months, he knew that she was not someone who would be interested in bouquet of flowers and jewels as presents.


One thing that would make her happy was food and her favourite drinks. He had sent her those regularly.


But he wanted to give her a new year present as well.


He found out what he should give after their conversation. Go Eun said, "I have a feeling that people won't like Jung Tae Eul much."


They were sitting together one evening, after practicing a scene.


He lifted his head in surprise, after trying to memorize Lee Gon's long lines.


"Really? Why not?"


"She's not.......feminine. She doesn't fall for Lee Gon immediately. She used her logic. And she kept trying to push him away."


"She has fallen for Lee Gon, she's just afraid to make a mistake."


"You're right, Sunbae. And once she fell for him, she's willing to trust him. I feel that Tae Eul is actually really romantic. Her realness makes her romantic for me."


Min Ho inhaled, while thinking.


"What's the most romantic story you've ever read? You've read a lot, right? Recommend me a book, maybe I'll be able to act Lee Gon's feelings for Tae Eul better."


She looked to the distance.


"Kim U Jin and Yoon Shim Deok. But it's a true story, not fiction."


"A true story?" he asked, quickly searching the name on a search engine.


"Kim U Jin was a great playwright. The first one in our country. They lived during the Japanese occupation. He was already married, but fell in love with a soprano singer, Yoon Shim Deok. He wasn't happy with his arranged marriage. He wanted to pursue writing, but his father wanted him to run the family's company. He and Yoon Shim Deok could connect through their art. But because they couldn't be together, they committed suicide together, jumping to the sea from a ship when they were travelling."


"This is a true story?"


"Yes. It's romantic."


"If they loved each other, why didn't they elope together?"


"Because they loved their family so much."


"Interesting" he exclaimed.


She nodded. "I want to read their biographies, but I can't find it. I hope it will be reprinted one day."


***************************************************


To understand her better, he watched the mini drama The Hymn of Death, depicting the life of Kim U Jin and Yoon Shim Deok. Lee Jong Suk and Shin Hye Sun played beautifully there.


After searching for days, he found the biography of Yoon Shim Deok, In Praise of Death, and bought two copies. He read one, then gave one for her.


On the first page, he wrote, "It's late, but I want to give you a new year's gift. May you find true love, and may it be the exact opposite of Kim U Jin and Yoon Shim Deok's story."


He had given her that on set, in her car. When she opened the box, she squealed, as if he gave her a set of diamonds.


"Thank you so much!" she said, hugging the book to her heart. "I'll read it immediately."


***************************************************


She finished reading the book during their filming hiatus. One evening, she texted him, "I just finished the book. Cried a lot."


He then sent her an audio file. It's a poem by Kim U Jin that he recorded. A way to win her heart.


Life running,

In the vast wilderness,

Where is it that you're heading?

In this lonely world

Filled with cruel suffering,

What are you looking for?

In this world filled with tears,

Will my death truly be the end of it all?

Those of you in search of happiness,

Only futility await for you

Those smiling flowers,

And crying birds

All share the same fate

Pitiful life absorbed in living,

You are the one, dancing on the blade.

Your unforgettable name

Deep in my heart,

Your name is engraved and I long for you,

Before your name can be forgotten,

I long for you again

Even at the moment of death I shall call your name

Even as I am living my heart longs for you

Until the moment of death I shall long for you

You set fire to my heart

In my heart,

You ignited the inextinguishable flame of love.


By Kim U Jin


*************************************************


She texted him again a few minutes after she played the audio file.


"Sunbae, it sounds really good. You read it so well. I cried a lot."


He video called and she accepted it.


She obviously just finished crying. Her face was red.


"Omo, uljimaaa!" he said, laughing at her but also feeling sad seeing her expression.


"I can't help it. Their love story is really beautiful. And sunbae's voice reading his poem is too good, it breaks my heart."


"I'm sorry."


"Aniyo. Sunbae, you really can be an audio book reader."


"Gomawo. Maybe I also should do a mukbang ASMR" he joked, making her laugh.


"Ah, it's too sad. I wish they had their happy ending."


"Kim U Jin should really just elope with Yoon Shim Deok. I would have done it."


"And leave everything? Everyone?"


"Yes. I'll do it for the woman I love."